Page #1: Farenheit 451




"It was a pleasure to burn."

“It was a pleasure to burn.” The first line I read from a book that I wouldn’t need to analyze or study for a class was unusual and certainly intriguing. I am not a great fan of reading books for entertainment. Whether it be a popular fiction like Harry Potter that I never managed to finish, or a non-fiction that seeminly provokes insights and thoughts, I never found myself holding a book on a free afternoon. Although I was partly encouraged by a lit class to initially pick up and read a book to finish this review for a grade, the book raptured me.

“It was a pleasure to burn.” The whole book is based on a world where all books are burned for the “better of the world.” The premise in this dystopian world holds that all written sources are heretic and useless in contributing to the better of society. Keeping a book un-burnt was a crime, and reading it was a sin. The main character, Guy Montag, begins the novel as a fireman who later develops a peculiar curiosity in the condemned books. He eventually quits his job and goes against the norms of society. The plot portrays his continued search for the intellect within the books.

I have studied dystopian themes and stories in a literature class last year, specifically studying the novels Brave New World and 1984. It was interesting to read another dystopian novel and remembering the little things I have learned about in a class. But more than that, Farenheit 451 was coincidently a very symbolic book to read for me. I had never fully appreciated what books would provide while I was learning all the interesting concepts and theories in my science classes. Physics explained what I saw everyday and answered my curiosity, but the classics I read never did. They provided me nothing that I could immediately appreciate. But this dystopian story provided me an intriguing image of the world: world without books. This is not to say that I instantly began to read all the books on my bookshelves I haven’t read, but it triggered a thought that made me realize what knowledge and insight a book can provide. If this book has provided me insight on appreciating books, I am interested to find what other books can “speak” to me.

Farenheit 451 revolves around a dystopian society, through which the author is trying to portray what a society could potentially be if books weren’t valued. From the very beginning, the author’s craft intrigues raptures the reader. The interesting juxtaposition of firemen’s job as burning things as opposed to putting out fires grabs the reader’s attention. The novel is an easy read with a good mix of short and long sentences, and without a convoluted plot. The three sections evidently shows the beginning/middle/end structure of the plot, each with its own unique message and theme that ties up to the whole dystopian theme of the book. An interesting feature of the book is that there are numerous references to fire throughout the book. From something that burns and destroys something to something that later becomes a source of warmth and comfort, fire is manipulated in different ways to provide an interesting insight into the reader. The references continue also to the sun and its heat with its symbolic implications to the plot. The book has received a worldwide literary merit, and is recognized as one of the most significant dystopian literary pieces.

Ray Bradbury is an American writer best known for his dystopian novel Farenheit 451. He is best known for his popular fictions and contributions to various television shows. Other books that receive worldwide recognition include The Martian Chronicles, published in the 1950s. He was born in Waukegan, Illinois to a Swedish immigrant mother. He lived in Arizona and Los Angeles before he chose not to attend college. Selling local newspapers and educating himself at the local library, he began to publish science fiction stories. Recognized by a legendary Clifton’s Cafeteria Science Fiction Club, Ray began his promising career.


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